Three Way consists of three one-act operas. Each half-hour opera may be performed individually or as a full evening set. Acts include Safe Word (piano reduction completed), The Companion and Masquerade.
Duration: ca. 90' Instrumentation: six singer cast and chamber ensemble: 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, flute, clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, percussion, piano (doubling synthesizer), conductor. World Premiere: To be announced. Piano Reduction of Safe Word and The Companion premiered by American Opera Projects (AOP) as part of AOP's Composers & The Voice program, September, 7th and 9th, 2012, Brooklyn, NY, USA. Publisher: Bill Holab Music
Mistress Salomé (mezzo-soprano) is a dominatrix in a deluxe dungeon. Today she welcomes a new client, a businessman (baritone). He’s having a rough day, and he’s ready to take it out on someone else—even though he's the one who pays to be humiliated. As Salomé conducts the session—role-playing, verbally and physically abusing the client, he says it’s not arousing him. He wants more intensity; he wants a "switch session." She refuses. He taunts and belittles her in a threatening manner. She tries to maintain control, but becomes angrier until, in a frenzy, she strangles the client in self-defense. He’s dead. She is shocked. Then, in a last-minute twist, we learn that the client is not dead, the woman is not a dominatrix and she has been paying for this sexual role-play, to find out what it’s like to be a dominatrix who murders a client.
Sometime in the future people will buy and live with biomorphic android Companions. Anita (soprano) is one such person. She’s a corporate executive and each day comes home to Julian (tenor), her interactive, programmed lover, housekeeper and cyberspouse. It's a status symbol, owning a Companion. Julian looks and sounds human, only better. Even so, Anita feels like she’s not getting the most out of her Companion. She maxes out her credit to get an upgrade. A CompTech (baritone) comes by to install new hardware. They flirt. The new complexity of Julian’s programming—he quarrels and withholds affection—is more annoying than pleasurable. Anita calls the CompTech to come over and shut down Julian. When he arrives, a tense love triangle and power struggle ensues.
A party is taking place at a country mansion. But it's not your ordinary dinner gathering or holiday celebration: it’s a masquerade. People from all walks of life come here to shed their outside selves, put on a mask and push the limits of erotic expression. Here our protagonists will face their deepest taboos. Three couples arrive excited and a bit scared. Roger (baritone) and Lisa (soprano) are in their early 40s, trying to heat up a cooling marriage. Julie (mezzo-soprano) and Bryan (bass-baritone) are in their 30s but already boastful veterans of sexual adventure. Kyle (tenor) and Tyler (soprano) are the youngest, an androgynous postgender pair who want to break through socially constructed barriers. Soon everyone is lost in strange scenarios in a honeycomb of baroque chambers. Mistaken identity leads to comic mishaps and surprising discoveries. By evening's end, our characters have gone on a journey that leaves them transformed.